Long serving café owner 'overwhelmed' by well wishes on retirement

Kirsty and Julie Cox, Michael and Carole Gorrod, Rose Sinacola and Linda Taylor at the retirement of Mrs Gorrod.

Kirsty and Julie Cox, Michael and Carole Gorrod, Rose Sinacola and Linda Taylor at the retirement of Mrs Gorrod. - Credit: Mick Howes

It is a popular café that has catered for fishermen, port workers, shoppers and families for decades.

And a long serving Lowestoft café owner admitted she will "miss the customers who have become friends" after retiring at the weekend.

Carole Gorrod has been serving customers at the family run Woodbine Café in Suffolk Road, Lowestoft since she was 15.

Carole Gorrod serving Gaynor and Grace Tyler prior to her retirement.

Carole Gorrod serving Gaynor and Grace Tyler prior to her retirement. - Credit: Mick Howes

But this week new owners took over the café as Mrs Gorrod retired after 48 years.

The shop sign says ‘Woodbine Café P Tyler and Daughter’ which refers to Carole’s father Phil and herself, as the family had owned the café since 1973.

Phil Tyler behind the counter at The Woodbine Cafe, Lowestoft in the 1990s.

Phil Tyler behind the counter at The Woodbine Cafe, Lowestoft in the 1990s. - Credit: Archant archives


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Mrs Gorrod said: “Dad bought the business from Wally and Olive Hector who we believe took it over from legendary Lowestoft Lifeboat Coxswain Tommy Knott.

Tommy Knott at the Woodbine Café in Lowestoft, which he used to run with his wife Joan.

Tommy Knott at the Woodbine Café in Lowestoft, which he used to run with his wife Joan. - Credit: Archant

"My dad, mum and brother and I came to Lowestoft from London in 1973.


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"It was really busy when we started. I was only 15 and still at school but I used to help in the café afterwards.

An archive photo of the Woodbine Cafe.

An archive photo of the Woodbine Cafe. - Credit: The Gorrod family

"Then we were serving crews from the fishing boats but later that changed as stand-by vessels for gas platforms were based here and that was a really busy time."

Michael and Carole Gorrod, at her retirement.

Michael and Carole Gorrod, at her retirement. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mrs Gorrod even met her husband-to-be Michael in the café when he came in as a customer and "caught my eye."


Over the years, with the decline of the fishing industry, and an increase in shoppers using the café, Mrs Gorrod said: "Previously it was almost unheard of to have lady customers in the café but now we have an even split of male and female customers and families with children."

Carole Gorrod (centre) at her retirement at the weekend.

Carole Gorrod (centre) at her retirement at the weekend. - Credit: Mick Howes

With a "loyal band of regular customers who we value", eating habits have also changed over time with freshly cooked meals and all-day breakfasts now proving "really popular."

She said: "I will miss the people and although they are customers they have also become friends.

Kirsty and Julie Cox, Michael and Carole Gorrod, Rose Sinacola and Linda Taylor at the retirement of Mrs Gorrod. 

Kirsty and Julie Cox, Michael and Carole Gorrod, Rose Sinacola and Linda Taylor at the retirement of Mrs Gorrod. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We pride ourselves on the quality of our food which is always freshly cooked.

“I have been overwhelmed with retirement gifts of flowers, cards and well wishes from local suppliers and customers, which is lovely."

With four part time staff staying on with the new owners, Mrs Gorrod added: "We open at 7am which is one thing I won’t miss when I retire as I will be able to have a lie in.

"I am looking forward to going travelling when Covid regulations allow and spending more time with the family."




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